Annals of Surgical Oncology

, Volume 19, Issue 5, pp 1700–1706

Clinicopathological Significance of ZEB1 Protein in Patients with Hepatocellular Carcinoma

  • Yan-Ming Zhou
  • Lu Cao
  • Bin Li
  • Rui-Xiu Zhang
  • Cheng-Jun Sui
  • Zheng-Feng Yin
  • Jia-Mei Yang
Translational Research and Biomarkers

DOI: 10.1245/s10434-011-1772-6

Cite this article as:
Zhou, Y., Cao, L., Li, B. et al. Ann Surg Oncol (2012) 19: 1700. doi:10.1245/s10434-011-1772-6

Abstract

Background

ZEB1, a member of the ZFH family of proteins (zinc-finger E-box binding homeobox), plays a central role in epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT) during carcinogenesis. In this study, we investigated the expression of ZEB1 in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and its clinical effects with underlying mechanisms.

Methods

Expression levels of ZEB1 were assessed by Western blot in 5 HCC cell lines and in paired cancerous and noncancerous tissues from 110 patients with HCC. Short-hairpin RNA (shRNA) interference for ZEB1 was performed in MHCC-97H cell line.

Results

ZEB1 protein was detected at a relatively high level in metastatic human HCC cell lines (MHCC-97L and MHCC-97H) when compared with that in nonmetastatic HCC cell lines (Hep3B, PLC and Huh-7). ZEB1 was expressed at high levels in 72 of 110 HCC patients (65.4%) and correlated with advanced TNM stage, tumor size >5 cm, intrahepatic metastasis, vascular invasion, and frequent early recurrence. The results of multivariate analysis revealed that ZEB1 high expression was a significant prognostic factor for poor overall and disease-free survivals. Silencing ZEB1 resulted in significant suppression of motility of MHCC-97H cell line, which was accompanied with increased expression of the epithelial marker E-cadherin and decreased expression of the mesenchymal markers N-cadherin and vimentin. Furthermore, silencing ZEB1 prevented the spread of intrahepatic metastasis and increased overall survival in mouse orthotopic tumor models.

Conclusions

This study shows that ZEB1 high expression was correlated with HCC malignant progression and subsequent poor patient survival by induction of EMT changes.

Copyright information

© Society of Surgical Oncology 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yan-Ming Zhou
    • 1
    • 2
  • Lu Cao
    • 3
  • Bin Li
    • 1
  • Rui-Xiu Zhang
    • 3
  • Cheng-Jun Sui
    • 2
  • Zheng-Feng Yin
    • 3
  • Jia-Mei Yang
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Hepato-Biliary-Pancreato-Vascular SurgeryFirst Affiliated Hospital of Xiamen UniversityXiamenChina
  2. 2.Department of Special Treatment, Eastern Hepatobiliary Surgery HospitalSecond Military Medical UniversityShanghaiChina
  3. 3.Department of Molecular Oncology, Eastern Hepatobiliary Surgery HospitalSecond Military Medical UniversityShanghaiChina